Thursday, June 27, 2013

Top 10 Math PINspirations

I am linking up with Ashley from Just Reed today, for her 10 PIN linky.
I honestly have just started becoming addicted using Pinterest, so I really don't have that many pins...10 might be stretching it, but we'll try!

Here we go, in no particular order:

I'm certain most of you have seen this pin, or maybe you even use it in your own classroom, but I just think the original creator of this time resource is a regular Einstein!
I love how the leaves are even in order of how we tell time: hour first, then minutes. And they are proportionally the same size as the hands on the clock!!
I'm telling ya, pure genius!
Since my first graders are only required to tell time to the hour and half-hour, I would probably add plain petals to all increments, except for the 15 minute markers (12, 3, 6, 9)...I hope that makes sense...

This is great, concrete way for first graders (or any grade, for that matter) to practice fact fluency. 
I am definitely adding this to a center this year:)

 I remember taking a screenshot of this exact anchor chart, back when I thought Pinterest was for Facebook-only people, and sticking it in a file on my desktop named "great ideas".
I forgot about it (as I did all my screenshots of ideas...thank you so much, Pinterest!), but I fully plan on utilizing it this year!

Another great, concrete way for students to practice number sense in a center. Love it!
Not to push a product, but I purchased this pack from Melissa last summer, forgot about, and only remembered I owned it when I backed up my computer this week!
I CANNOT believe I went all year without implementing these great kinesthetic ways to practice math skills!! 
You should check it out:)...just sayin'...

 Another good use of common resources (playing cards) to keep kids engaged and practicing facts in centers. 
Can you tell I'm all about math centers this year? 
I didn't do much with them last year; only when our program called for it (one day, every other week or so)

This marks a first for me! 
I have never before had the know-how/courage to embed a video in a blog post:)
Yay me!!!
So, this guy is hilarious, and what a great way to get your kiddos engaged than to be just as silly!
I am soooo doing this song this year...probably even for an observed lesson!
And the following pins will also be used for place value practice during that same lesson:

Whole group practice, also from the same "nut" who made the video above.
He may be a nut, but he's a genius:) If only my kids had him as a teacher!
Watch'll feel the same way.

 I will be using both of the ideas above in centers and at my table with small groups to ensure place value understanding. 
In reflecting on my teaching during this past year, I really don't feel I hit/instructed place value as well as I could/should have.
I can only apologize to my class of last year....and make sure I do better about it this coming year!

This actually does include almost all of the pins I have on my math board! Ha!
I'm sure I'll pick up a few from you all that link up, or have already linked.

If you missed the boat, you're only 2 days behind.
Go ahead and link up with Ashley; I need a few more pins:D
Just Reed!

Have a great Thursday, friends!
I'm off to talk Daily 5 & Common Core with my very good friend Melissa of Mrs. B's Bright Blessings.

If you haven't checked out her blog yet, look her up! 
She just posted some picture book favorites:)

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Books & Read-Alouds {for the first week back}

So, it's almost July.
I always tell my oldest son that when the fireworks' tents go up around where we live, summer is almost over! (he hates that)
Now, for some of you, summer has only begun so hearing those words might bring a ton twinge of sadness.
Many of us have enjoyed a good 4 weeks off, and our minds are slowly starting to gear back into school-mode...or if you're like me, it never left:)

Before you know it, the somber days of August will be upon us, and we will start the definite process of planning for that exhilarating first week!

I love that DeAnne from First Grade and Fabulous is hosting a Picture Book Linky.
It's my hope that she will continue this linky with a different theme each time/week.
This week, the topic is books for the first week back to school.
Here are my favorite books and read-alouds for those precious few first days:

I'm sure most of you are familiar with this favorite story, and maybe you even use it on the first day.
 I love to include a discussion about what "jitters" are and what else may cause you to have jitters.
We make an anchor chart, and then have "jitter juice", which is really green Hawaiian Punch with a construction paper label:)
They all eat it up...or should I say, drink it up!

During the first few weeks of school, I use Made for First Grade's Color Days unit.
The colors we will be celebrating the first week: Red, Blue & Yellow.
The above are books we will use to help us with our color days/sight word kick-off!

Thanks to Amanda's (from First Grade Garden) suggestion, I use these three books to introduce the Sisters' 3 ways to read a book concept.

These titles are recommended for the Common Core ELA Unit 1 study of alphabet books and libraries.
I already own the alphabet books, and was very excited to find 2 "library" books that also tie into the Goldilocks theme that I use to introduce Daily 5....
 ...but I sadly do not own the bottom two titles yet:( They're on my (ever-growing) wish list, though!

I also read "Chrysanthemum" to introduce our Character Trait for the month (typically, Caring) and Loreen Leedy's "Missing Math: a Number Mystery" book to introduce the importance of numbers (math) in our everyday lives.
The last must-share is my favorite heroine, Ms. Junie B. Jones.
I love to start the year off with First Grader at Last :D...I'm sure they all relate!
I use several other titles throughout the year, as seasonally appropriate.
She is my absolute favorite read-aloud character!

If you can't tell by now, Children's literature is a deep-seeded passion of mine.
It's actually really hard to cut out books to include in lessons; I easily go overboard!

Anyone else with that problem?
If you've already got a plan you've used before, or a plan you're excited about this year, link up with DeAnne and share your picture book passion:)

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Classroom Management Go-to's...and a clip chart Freebie

Seems like everyone's talking about Classroom Management this week!
The Applicious Teacher is who I'm linkin' up with, but I hear-tell there are others using this theme in Pinteresting ways:)
If I had much of a Pinterest board (just starting out...haven't become a full-on Pinsomniac at this point in time), I'd probably be doing double-linking-duty, but such is not yet the case.

So here we go with how I manage behavior in my daily routine.

Like so many of you, I use a clip chart.
Mine is very similar to Abby Mullin's, aka "Babbling Abby", rockstar-guitar themed one, but flipped in colors.
I believe the "downside" of hers ended in pink --- mine ends in "red".
This results in Principal and parent contact + a consequence (missing "Fun Friday" or lunch in the classroom, or possibly both).
Above red is "orange" ('teacher's choice'---typically parent contact, sometimes a consequence also, depending on the behavior).
Above orange is "yellow" (warning).
Above yellow is where everyone starts out the day:
"green" = Ready to Rock & Roll!
Above green is "blue", then "purple", then "pink".
That's right; I have 3 colors above the average.
With me so far?

I mainly use the chart to manage my Daily 5 (literacy block) time.
Students who work "above and beyond" during this time clip up.
We have 3 rotations, and that means they all have 3 opportunities to clip up.
And trust me when I say, I really try to push students to experience that clip-up feeling!
If for any reason, at any time, I have to write your name down during Daily 5, that is a missed opportunity to clip up.
You could be talking excessively (I'm a little forgiving about quiet, minimal talking).
You could be off-task.
You could be roaming the classroom constantly.
You could be sleeping:) --- never has happened, and I pray it never does! Especially on days when my principal decides to observe!!
Whatever the reason (and I take the time to explain/model/practice appropriate/desirable behaviors for several weeks before implementation!), if I have to write your name down you're not clipping up that rotation.
...and if your behavior is so off-task/distracting that I have to add a "checkmark" to your name, you may have to actually clip down (pretty rare, but has happened)!
I keep all these lists in a data notebook that I also use for anecdotal/monitoring notes for small group.

I'm very tough about this at the beginning of the year, and I actually get a little more lenient as the year goes on.
This may seem like backwards-thinking to many of you, but we start to utilize more partner-work/collaboration after Christmas, so the room does get a little "busier":)

There really aren't any other opportunities to clip up the rest of the day.
I REALLY like having it purely for the purpose of running a smooth, quiet Daily 5!
Occasionally, for extreme behaviors, I do have students clip down, even after Daily 5 is over.
For positive reinforcement the rest of the day, I give out gold tags for random/intermittent behaviors.
Which leads me to the next aspect of my management routine...

During pack-up (or often the next morning, because I forgot during end of day chaos), I hand out "Rainbow Rewards" which look like the following:
Orange/Red = turn in 1 gold tag (2 for red)
 Yellow = earn 1 gold tag
Green = earn 2 gold tags
Blue = earn 3 gold tags
Purple = earn 4 gold tags + sign the "Wall of Fame"
Pink = earn 5 gold tags + sign the "Wall of Fame" + get a 'star' on your clip
    ----when you have earned 5 stars on you clip, I wear your clip on my lanyard all day, and you get to take it home that night:)

What are gold tags, you ask?
I will let the Teeny Tiny Teacher explain that, since it's her genius system!
But SPOILER ALERT: My class LOVED it this past year!
Click HERE to read about this take on a token economy.
Last year, I used her Fun Friday system every week.
This year, I'm thinking of moving it to every other week. We'll see what my partner teacher says.

Oh, and speaking of my partner teacher, she has decided that she wants to do an "owl" theme in her room this year, but can't find any decor in the colors she's looking for.
I asked her what colors, and she said berry and mauve with some gold/soft yellow and brown.
So I created a rainbow chart system just for her with owls.
Can you tell I'm trying to sneakily peer-pressure her into the rainbow chart thing?
She currently uses a "traffic light" clip chart, so I did go ahead and make labels for that system, too.
Click HERE for the FREEBIE I'll be giving her, if you also want an owl clip chart:)

The download also comes with a job chart, the way she uses it.
How do you do jobs in your room?
I haven't found a real great system yet...I'll keep pinning, and maybe find a good one for this year.

Later this week, I'll be uploading some literacy block Freebies in the same color scheme she's looking for... kinda hard to make a "rainbow chart" in berries and browns, though.
I love my partner teacher, and want her to have an adorable room she can enjoy this year!
I honestly wouldn't be half the teacher I am without her...she was also one of my mentors when I student-taught...awww:)

Link up with Leigh and tell about your classroom management systems.
I think it's so nice to get some fresh, different perspectives for routines!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Fluency Fun Freebie!

I am helping a friend's daughter improve her reading this summer.
I'm helping my friend's daughter and my friend is helping my soon-to-be-first-grader with his handwriting.

Here's a funny story: When I got my youngest son's grades, I went over them with him.
I have known all year that his handwriting is atrocious (figures...teacher's kid! Ha!), but I was still slightly shocked at his grade: a 64%!!!
I said, "Aiden! You have a 64% in Handwriting!"
His reply? "Well, mom, that's better than a zero!"
This is from the same kid who refused to learn how to write his name properly because everyone knows his name anyway....
"They all call me 'Aiden'!"
Little smartie:) or smart something...
...But back to today's post! #sorry4thebirdwalk

I guess you could call it tutoring, though my friend's daughter is actually a fine reader.
--- Let's just call her daughter, "G", like the little girl on Disney's "dog with a blog", who has an initial instead of a first name...sad---
"G" comprehends well, and can read pretty accurately on grade level...but she does need a little help with oral reading prosody (reading with expression/intonation), as well as increasing her wpm count.

To help "G" become a little more of a fluent reader this summer, she and I will be doing some partner reader's theater, playing some sight word games, and (everyone's favorite) doing lots of repeated/familiar re-reads! Yay, right?
Maybe to all but that last strategy:/
Repeated readings can become so tedious, for both reader and listener!

I googled "familiar reread activities", to see if I could find anything fresh to jazz up our sessions this summer, and was excited to find a site that suggested to have the reader change their voice each time they read a familiar passage.

So simple! Why didn't I think of that?

Quickly, I came up with some cute little cards that "G" and I can use over the summer...but I can also incorporate into my classroom this year.
"G" doesn't need the picture clues, but my sweet little emergent firsties will!
And I'm sure she'll enjoy the images, too:)

If this sounds like an activity you'd like to use, click HERE to download from Google Docs!
There are 4 pages of cards with different voice styles, and even some cards to "sing" the text to a familiar tune...we'll see how that works!
I could also see these as cards you could glue on popsicle sticks, and let the reader choose one out of a bucket or tub!
I'll let you know in a few weeks if the silly voices drive me crazy:)

Wish I could find something cute and fun to jazz up Handwriting...


Friday, June 14, 2013

Just a test post:)

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Vocab, and...oh, yeah, Winners!

How do you teach vocabulary in your classroom?

I'm sure most of us have a "program" or something that came with our reading/LA resources, and I have something like that, too.

Our district uses Storytown, and though I like many features of this resource, I seriously feel like the "robust vocabulary" part is lacking.

Therefore, I have taken it upon myself to create some vocabulary lessons to use through quality children's literature. It's taking some time, but I hope to have the whole year planned out by the end of the month! I'm actually using many of the words that Storytown suggests, but I've adapted them to fit literature that is important to me, and I can "get behind", so to speak.
The stories that anthology uses are, well, not always quality.

Look at this pin:
                                                            Source: via Amber on Pinterest

I love how it incorporates learning targets with vocab!
The vocab words are pictured on the clipboards below the targets table.
The originator, Mrs. Blas, has inspired me to implement something similar into my classroom, but I'll definitely have to play around with it to make it primary kid-friendly.

I would love for you to comment below with vocab suggestions or ideas!

It seems like there was something else I was supposed to post...hmmm...:)

Oh, of course!

My, oh, my you ladies are lucky ducks!
And Laura P.!....aren't you just the luckiest of everyone in the pond:)
You 6, er 5, should soon be contacted by some talented bloggers to coordinate your choices for your prize packs.
And Laura P., you will need to let me know whether you would like $10 to TpT, Amazon, or Target.
Decisions, decisions:)

Congrats to all the winners, and thank you to everyone who participated or contributed.
Don't ya just love a giveaway?

Thursday, June 13, 2013

An Applicious Link-Up!

Before I start rolling with the real reason for the post, a quick reminder that 
That's have only 14 hours left to get in before the little Rafflecopter widget shuts ya down!!
Click HERE if you haven't yet had a chance to enter, or forever wish you had:)

So, most of you have already seen my posts about my classroom decor for the coming school year...
...but I'm just so stinkin' excited about it that I couldn't resist linkin' up with The Applicious Teacher!
Her button even semi-matches my new room!

Like the linky I joined yesterday, this is a total GENIUS opportunity that allows us poor teachers a chance to glance in other classrooms and see new & fresh takes on our daily routines!

I'm a few days tardy to this party (talk about fashionably late!), but better late than never, right?

Just to quickly update those of you who aren't in the know, my chosen theme for the coming fall is inspired by SchoolGirl Style's Chalkboard Charm, as pictured below:

I've already created a pretty cute little calendar set that incorporates a little more color and pics for my little emergent readers:) 

If you didn't get the chance to pick that puppy up for free, it will soon be in my TpT store.
I know, I keep saying that, but there have been technical difficulties...can you believe that? :)

All I need to do now is go on a serious shopping spree for some cute little buckets, tubs, ribbon, and whatever else Melanie says I need to complete the look.
Oh, man, a shopping spree?
Well, a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do, right!
I bet I can convince my good ol' friend, (and partner in crime) Mrs. B., to jump on that grenade with me :D heehee

I'm thinking I'll need some black and red plaid cushions for some crate seats we need to make this summer, and tissue paper or tulle flowers we said we would DIY, and maybe even a mesh wreath!

Don't you all just hate to go out and spend money and time on cute decor?
Yeah, me neither:)
I hope you'll link up with either Kelli or Leigh or BOTH, so we can all start the school year off right... and in style!
....or maybe some of you aren't ready to rush it quite is only June, I guess.


Tomorrow, I will announce the 7 lucky winners:)
Til then!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

How does your Morning Work?

Hey, y'all!
(much of my family is from the south so I LOVE to pretend that I use that word all the time, even though it really only pops out on occasion...and I'm from Kansas...but I digress)

I am linking up with the lovely and talented Kelli, from Castles & Crayons, for a 10-week series on classroom routines.
She calls it: "Schedule Spotlight Series", and I think it's GENIUS!

How many of you have ever been so frustrated by the way you do certain things, but it's the way you've always done things and the way your team has always done things and the way your building has always done things, so you're not sure how to change it up?

OR ON THE FLIP-SIDE, how many of you just L.O.V.E. the way you do certain things and can't believe that everyone doesn't do things the way you and your precious students do them?
Who wouldn't love to take a peek in various classrooms to glean from/inspire others to do things differently?

Well, instead of taking the time (and planning for sub days....which I certainly HATE to do!) to go and visit other classrooms, this linky provides the exact same opportunity in a virtual format!

This week's topic: Morning Work.

I wish I had some good advice for this one, but having only taught 2 years, I just know 1 way to run that routine.
My current method? 
Worksheets...from Mailbox...and other ancient, though still semi-relevant resources.

What do I like about this system?
~ Students are getting to practice a variety of skills, from math to language arts, and most are simple enough to do independently, so I can accomplish the tedious must-dos (lunch count/attendance/parent notes/homework/stuff I forgot to do at the end of the day that must be done before we start/review a new concept today, like "exit slips"...).
~ Most fit into a thematic topic or seasonal happening AS WELL AS a content skill we are working on, which for some reason makes my OCDness very happy. (don't you hate when kids take home a worksheet with snow in September, or Halloween/ghosts in February? Just me??)

What do I NOT like about this system?
~ Honestly? Everything!
    I was stretching to include things I like about the system.
    It's tired.
    It's "worksheets" (the dreaded word!).
    I have to explain over & over what they are required to do, model how to do it, and even work through several students' pages with them, so my aide typically does the aforementioned tedious to-dos.

I would much rather students come in every day with the exact same expectation (journaling, spiral review---think "Mountain Math/Language" if you're familiar with those), or even a worksheet (gasp!) that had a similar format for every day of the year.

-----I really don't want to push a product, because I'm sure that's not what this linky's about, so I won't mention names or stores. Ask me later:)-----
....I have purchased a "morning work" set from TpT that I'm confident will make me (and my students) happy with our morning routine this year!

It is Common Core aligned, includes both Math and Language Arts skills e.v.e.r.y.d.a.y., and once the students learn the expectation (after a week or maybe 2) is completely familiar enough to be done independently!
It will also include a "Number of the Day/Math Journal Word Problem" on the back to be discussed whole group as an intro to our math block.
Gotta get those math conversations rollin', you know!

Excited? Very:)
However....since the new system has not been kid-tested/teacher-approved in my room at this time, I can really only discuss what I know. Insert sad-face.

Students are able to come into the classroom at 7:50; they must report to the gym before then, and we have FABULOUS aides who keep them entertained and in-control until then:) Love you ladies!!!

My students have a 4-step process that is the exact same everyday.
We call it our "Morning Routine", and even have an anchor chart for it.
It does not look exactly like this, but very similar, just not as cute:) :
I whipped this up while I was posting.
I should probably use it, instead of the ugly construction paper one we make each year.
On Mondays, students must "shop" for their books that they will use in their book bags during Daily 5.
I call students by tables to do this while they're working through the routine above, otherwise not everyone would have books before Daily 5 starts! (speaking from experience)

By 8:20, I expect everyone to have completed most of, if not all, their morning work and shopped for books for the week (they may have 4-6 books, so this typically takes about 5-8 min per kid).
We then start our day with calendar (or review the day prior, if I forgot!)...but that's for another post!

You still have 5 days to link up and share your Morning Work "ritual" before next week's spotlight: Calendar Time.

Question, if you're still reading: What do you use for communication with parents? Packets? Binders? Folders? Carrier Pigeons??
 (okay, hopefully not that last one. They carry diseases, too, you know)
I ordered something new for this year, and I'm just curious what others use.
This will be my 3rd year, and I've had something different every year:)
Clearly, I'm in education because I love change so much, right?:)

I hope a whole bunch of us join this party!
I know I could use some great, fresh ideas:)
And just think how many "rooms" we're visiting...this should totally count for PD!
Anyone want to email my principal with that thought?

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Technology, my friend :/

Well, I strived to email the calendar set, but my server kept telling me the file "exceeded the maximum size." Whatever.
THEN, I wound up sending everyone an email with a link to the calendar set in my dropbox:)
I'm PRAYING that link works for you all, or I'm gonna have to come up with something else, since I know googledocs hates me!
If you did NOT receive an email from me, and you originally commented before midnight on the 9th, would you please comment again at the bottom of today's post?
I will get you the link as soon as I hear from you.

If you received SEVERAL emails from me, I sincerely apologize!
Technology has not been very nice to me today, obviously, so I wanted to be sure I didn't miss anyone, and some of you might have been contacted 2 or 5 times:)

My computer has heard more angry words than it wanted to, and we are not on speaking terms at the moment.
I know it's not really MAC's fault, but still....

That might have been a tad excessive, but I do feel soooo much better:)

The dropbox link will be active for a short time, but the set will eventually be deleted from dropbox, as I am almost out of space in my 2(free)GB of storage:)
I'm too cheap to pay for more space right now! Ha!

Once I hear back from the creator of one of the fonts I used about her commercial license, the calendar set will be in my TpT shop.

Hey, look to your left below my new blog button...
Now I have a TpT button that will take you right to my stuff:)
Pretty sweet, huh?
Some of you asked how to get to my store in your comments, and I realized it was probably necessary now to have one.
There's not much there yet...but you might find something you like.

It looks like many of you are stoked about the 100th Follower Giveaway!
PLEASE make sure to follow these amazing blogs and stores, if you don't already!
These ladies are ultra-fab with teaching ideas and resources!!

Have a happy little Tuesday!
And, once again, please let me know if you slipped through the email cracks.
I did not intentionally leave anyone who commented out, but it might have happened...please forgive me, and continue to be my friend since MAC and I are not :(

Monday, June 10, 2013

Who Will Be the Lucky 7???

Okay, all you lovely followers...

Here is the amazing list of blog-stars who have agreed to donate a prize to my little giveaway.
If you are one of the lucky 7, you could possibly win:

a packet of your choice from the wonderful 2nd grade team of 
Second Grade Smartypants a.k.a., Katie & Lisen!
your choice of any fabulous item from Lisa Richling's store!
your choice of an item from the talented Brigid Ann's store!

an item of your choice, courtesy of some classy Kansas ladies named Kristi & Crystal!

A day in first grade
a packet of your choice from the uber-fab Kristen Smith!

Teaching Maddeness
   a packet from the monstrously cool, Amanda Madden!

Synonym Rolls & Antonym Moments
and a $10 GC to the winner's choice of TpT, Amazon, or Target!
(my 3 fave places to shop!)
I have to say, on a personal note, each one of these ladies had a HUGE impact on my life, as a novice blogger, and career, as a primary teacher. They have bettered my thinking, my practice, and my outlook on education. Whether they know it or not, I am already indebted to them for the inspiration, ideas, and influence they've provided me... I'm even more so for the generosity they've shown me with this giveaway.
Thank you so much, ladies, from the very bottom of my overflowing heart! :')
To enter, use the Rafflecopter Widget below. The contest will run almost all week!
7 winners will be chosen Thursday evening, so be sure to make time this week to enter!!
The lucky 7 will be announced on Friday:)
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Blog about the contest, if you so choose, but I would love for my already-followers to have the best chance, as a special thank you for sticking with me:)
PLEASE be sure to check out all these inspiring blogs (it's required that you follow them for additional entries anyway), and obviously their TpT stores as well. 
That way, you can have your choices in mind if you happen to be so lucky as to win something!
I have something (or several somethings) from each one of these talented teachers, and my students seriously reap the benefit!
I'm just not yet the TpT-Diva that all these ladies are, but I hope to get there someday:) 
Best of luck to each of you entering, and thanks so much for continuing your support and encouragement of my personal and professional growth!

Saturday, June 8, 2013

It's Your Last Chance!.... get this super cute and classy (if I do say so myself) blackboard calendar set for FREE!!
Simply reply to this post with your  name and email, and I will send out all free sets on Monday.
(if you've already commented, I have your sets ready to go, so no need to comment again!)

This offer expires Sunday at midnight:)
On Monday, it goes to my little shop for the bargain price of $3..still a pretty good deal!

And speaking of Monday, here's a little teaser at some of the BIG names involved in my 100th Follower celebration.
Most of these bloggers are letting the winners CHOOSE a packet from their fabulous stores.
Take a look-see:

A day in first grade
a year in First Grade's Kristen Smith
Bits of First Grade's Brigid Ann

Learning is Something to Treasure's Lisa Richling

Second Grade Smartypants' duo Katie & Lisen

Teaching Little Miracles' duo Kristi & Crystal

Teaching Maddeness
Teaching Maddeness' Amanda Madden

Go ahead and blog about it...all your wonderful followers would love to know, I'm sure!
Who wouldn't want a chance at a FREE packet from any one of these uber talented & creative ladies??

It all starts on Monday!
I'm excited!!
And, thanks so much, to all of you who have made it possible.
I wish I could do more for those of you who have encouraged, inspired, and supported me through this journey:')

My little baby blog is almost a year old...I bet there'll be a little something for everyone then! (wink, wink!)

Friday, June 7, 2013

Wait...Aren't you on summer VACATION?

I'm sure you all have seen this ecard, but on the off-chance it's new to you, I just have to share:
Can I get an Amen from my teacher-sisters out there??
(sorry, teacher-brothers, but you have not been through pregnancy...even if you think you have!)

I'm sure what the author means is that it feels longer than 9 months when you're in the thick of it...
but we all know we do not stop working once the final school bell rings in May (or June).
Here's further proof of that:

I'm supposed to be "off" of work, and I find myself doing more than I probably did the last few weeks of school (don't tell my principal)!
 Although, much of what I'm doing right now is kinda fun:)
Not that trying to stop 19 first graders from climbing the walls for 2 weeks in a row wasn't fun....I kid, I kid!

I am so excited about my new decor that I have been working around the clock.... quite literally; it has been awhile since I watched the sun come up, but I saw it 2 days ago! ....on a cute little calendar set to match my theme.

Now, I know I said I wanted very muted decor, and that is still true, but I do 100% believe that the brain learns/sees best in color, so I've added some color to a few key pieces of the set.
For example, I wanted each weekday's name to stand out.
There's really no picture clues to help emergent readers read those words, so each day is printed in a color that follows the order of the rainbow (Sunday = red, Monday = orange, you get it...).
I made a few different options for the calendar dates, in case I (or you!) decide to emphasize place value and even/odd numbers, as well as some patterning.
I also just can't bear to have my month headers bare, with no hint of seasonal or thematic happenings!
I strived to stay very neutral in regards to holidays (i.e., no Christmas/Easter/Halloween, in case you're in a district where those are discouraged) ...sadsville:( , but the neutral clipart I used is still pretty stinkin' cute, if I do say so myself!

Finally, I want to really use my calendar time this year as a spiral whole group review for CC math standards. That was also my plan last year, but without these cool resources:), it wasn't well executed!
I've included charts, graphs, diagrams, number concepts, place value, and even some addition/subtraction strategy practice.
There are really only a couple of math standards that this set doesn't cover, but if I could find a way to work in measurement, it would be there, too!!

What do you think?
I just L.O.V.E. the "old school" blackboard look.
My plan is to laminate them (so they can be re-used each month) and use CHALK INK wet wipe markers to fill in our data. 

Have you tried those things? They are Fab-u-loso on plastic, so I'm hoping they'll work great on these. I'll keep ya posted:), obviously...
I'm so pumped for this room to come together already!

Since today was supposed to have been the first day of my giveaway (ahem....), I am going to give a set to each person who comments below, from right now until Sunday(6/9) at midnight!
Simply leave a comment below WITH YOUR EMAIL if you're interested in a set, and I'll send it your way!
After the weekend, this little set goes to my tiny TpT first actual item for sale!...for the bargain price of $3.

I am still waiting on 2 more bloggers to reply to my email, and I REALLY can't shell out more money for GC's, so if I don't hear back from them by Monday, I may have to cut the amount of winners (sorry!!). Either way, the 100th Follower Giveaway will start on Monday (6/10), so tune in then to see who's partnered up to help me celebrate! 
I promise there is some really great stuff up for just wait!!

Have a stellar weekend, friends!